Monday, August 17, 2015

Mysterious Wish Fulfillment

Parker Pyne InvestigatesParker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Fantasy Island for the mystery set!

This isn't Agatha Christie's typical who-dunnit mystery. Half the people that come to "investigator" Parker Pyne for help are just bored. Makes sense since that's who he advertises for, those who are unhappy and don't know what to do about it. So, his clients are often people with money who want someone else to make life interesting again for them...

That is difficult for me to swallow. I come from a background where money had to be hard-earned, penny by penny. As I've aged I've also learned the value of time. I tend to loath people who say, "I'm bored" and I feel "killing time" deserves capital punishment. It is murder after all. So, I found the very premise of Parker Pyne Investigates repugnant.

Much of this book is wish fulfillment. A client meets with Pyne, unburdens his woes, and then Pyne sets up an improbably scenario in order to spice up that person's life. In these short stories, Pyne sets up thrilling adventures and minor mysteries to put a little pep in his client's lives. More than once the issue is little more than a husband or wife who's bored with the other. So Pyne creates jealousy and soon they both realize how foolish they've been, how much they still love one another, and they live happily ever after. I honestly could've slept my way through this book.

There are a few actual crimes solved herein and occasionally Pyne flashes Sherlockian genius. Pyne is no Poirot, other than his girth, but occasionally Christie can't help but mix in some of that crafty Belgium's cleverness. However, there's not enough character in this character. Again, his girth aside, Pyne is flat. The most interesting things about him are his intuition into human nature and his unintentionally absurd notion that lying to your significant other is the key to a solid relationship. Yes, I understand "white lies" are what is meant or at least what it could be explained away as, but it honestly sounded like ridiculous, archaic advice column mumbo jumbo. Hell, this whole book is mumbo jumbo!!!



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3 comments:

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  2. This reminds me of the film 'The Game' with Michael Douglas though it sounds like it worked much better as a film than a book. It also saddens me that the inimitable Ms. A.C. wrote something that sounds so insipid. So I'll be taking your advice and steering clear of this one. I truly love Miss Marple however.

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    1. Yeah, I'd suggest sticking with the Marples and Poirots. Thanks for the comment!

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